Child Protection: Help and advice for children and young people

Hands holding post-it notes


As a young person, you have the right to be safe at all times, in all environments, whether that’s at home, school, on the street, or online. You have the right to grow up safe and free from the threat of being hurt, physically or emotionally, or not being cared for properly. All the adults in your life have a legal responsibility to protect you.  

If something is worrying you, making you scared, or you’re worried about someone else, and you’re not sure yet if it is abuse or not, it can be hard to know what to do. It’s important to talk to someone you trust like your parent or carer, friend, teacher or another adult you are comfortable with, even if you’re not sure. 

Here you will find information on keeping safe and where you can go for support, help, information, or simply someone to talk to. 

Where can I get help from? 

If it’s an emergency call 999  

You can contact Childline by either text, email or phoning their free 24 hour helpline on 0800 1111.  

You can also text the NSPCC helpline anonymously on 88858. 

If you would like to get some help locally contact the Waltham Forest Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) team:

Call 020 8496 2310 (Monday to Thursday 9am to 5.15pm, Friday 9am to 5pm) or 020 8496 3000 (out of hours). 

A social worker from MASH will speak to you. 

What is safeguarding?  Click to get info

You may have heard the term ‘child protection’ before. Child protection is about dealing with concerns that a child may be being hurt or mistreated by someone. A social worker’s job, with the help of other workers like the police, health visitors and teachers, is to stop children from being harmed in any way. Safeguarding looks at what needs to happen to keep children and young people safe. 

The Government has published a guide for young people explaining what abuse is and how to keep children safe. Read the Government guide to keeping children safe

What is the Waltham Forest Safeguarding Children Board? 

The purpose of the Waltham Forest Safeguarding Children Board (WFSCB) is to make sure agencies are working together to keep children and young people safe. It’s our job to work hard to make sure that Waltham Forest is a safe place for children and young people to grow up in.  The WFSCB has an independent person who asks lots of questions of agencies to check that what they do to safeguard children and young people is working. The WFSCB is made up of many professionals who work in different roles, including police, doctors, social workers, teachers and many other partners. All these partners meet four times a year to look at how well everyone is working together to keep children safe and, if needed, changes are made to improve how everyone works together, so that the needs of Waltham Forest’s children and young people are met in the best possible way. 

What is neglect Click to get info

Every young person needs and has a right to have: 

  • clothes that are clean and warm and shoes that fit and keep you dry 
  • enough to eat and drink 
  • protection from dangerous situations 
  • somewhere warm, dry and comfortable to sleep 
  • help when you're ill or you've been hurt 
  • love and care from your parents or carers 
  • support with your education 
  • access to and help with medication, if needed 

Every child and young person has the right to be looked after properly. If you’re not getting the important things you need at home, you could be being neglected. 

Further information

Watch the short film from childline.

Child exploitation Click to get info

Further information: films  

Taylor’s Story child sexual exploitation  

Get help if you need  

Is This OK website is a free, confidential, online chat service for young people aged between 13-18 who are looking for support. Got something you need to talk about? Are you worried that something in your life just doesn't feel right? Is This OK? is here to help.

For information and guidance, see our child exploitation webpage.


Staying safe online Click to get info

Using the internet is an important part of many people’s lives, but it’s important to stay safe whilst online as things could go wrong – posting pictures you wish you never did, sharing details about yourself you wish you hadn’t, or being bullied are just some examples. 

If you feel frightened, threatened, worried, or unsafe about anything that has happened whilst using the internet – whether it’s on social media (e.g. Snapchat, Tik Tok, Twitter, Instagram etc) or anywhere else on the internet – you should report it, as you have a right to be safe on the internet. 

If you are worried about anything that has happened on the internet you can tell: 

  • Someone you can trust (like your teacher or a relative) 
  • Childline: 0800 1111 
  • CEOP: Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre 
  • Think U Know: Part of National Crime Agency/CEOP

Top tips for staying safe online  

  1. Be careful what you share. If it’s something you wouldn't want your teachers or parents to see, it's probably best not to post it, because once it's online, it's out of your control. 
  2. Never meet people you don't know, even if you get on with them online, it’s impossible to know who they really are. 
  3. Use a complex password. It should be hard for other people to guess your password and it's a good idea to change it regularly. 

Further information: websites  

Childnet Find the latest information on sites and services that you like to use, plus information about mobiles, gaming, downloading, social networking and much more. 

Further information: film 

Stop Speak Support 3 simple steps to tackling cyberbullying

Mental wellbeing  Click to get info

Mental health is something we all have and is all about: 

  • how good you feel about yourself and those around you  
  • your ability to socialise and form relationships  
  • being able to learn from others  
  • developing psychologically and emotionally   
  • having the strength to overcome difficulties and challenges in everyday life  
  • believing in yourself and being confident in the decisions you make   

However, mental ill-health is very common.  Around 1 in 10 young people have a mental health diagnosis and there are lots of others that are suffering with anxiety or depression but have not had this officially recognised. 

Getting Support 

Many young people put off getting help with their mental health because they are worried what people may think of them or think that no one else will understand.  Mental ill health is treatable but it’s really important to get help at the earliest opportunities before things become more serious. 

You can get support, advice and treatment in many forms.  Firstly, a visit to the GP will kick start getting help.  Talking to someone you trust such as a friend, sibling, parent/carer, youth worker or teacher is also important.  If you don’t know who to turn to or you want to speak to someone first that doesn’t know you, the following organisations are here to help: 

  • Kooth is a FREE, anonymous, confidential, safe, online wellbeing service, offering counselling, information and forums for children and young people. Counsellors are available every day from: 12 noon to 10pm Monday- Friday and 6pm to 10pm Saturday and Sunday. Or there is a live discussion forum on Monday, Wednesday, Friday 7.30 to 9pm. Topics pages and articles are accessible at any time. Log on through mobile, laptop and tablet
  • Samaritans  08457 909090 or email a 24 hour helpline for anyone who is distressed or experiencing emotional problems
  • Childline 0800 1111 a free, private and confidential service   Also available is a 1-2-1 counsellor chat 

Further information: websites

Papyrus provides confidential support and advice to young people struggling with thoughts of suicide, and anyone worried about a young person through their helpline, HOPELINEUK

If you are having thoughts of suicide or are concerned for a young person who might be you can contact HOPELINEUK for confidential support and practical advice.

Call: 0800 068 4141 

Opening hours: 10am to 10pm weekdays 2pm to 10pm weekends 2pm to 10pm bank holidays 

Text: 07786209697 or Email:  

Selfharm UK: help and advice on about self-harm. including eating disorders. 

Stem4 Calm Apphelps manage the urge to self-harm. 

The Mixessential support with looking after your on-line mental health for under 25s. 

Other resources  

Ways to wellbeing - The Children’s Society have put these ‘five ways to well-being for children’ on a set of postcards as a reminder of the things that children can do to support their own well-being.  

Patterns of family life vary and there is no single, perfect way to bring up children. Good parenting involves caring for children’s basic needs which includes: 

  • keeping them safe
  • showing them warmth and love
  • providing the stimulation needed for their development and to help them achieve their potential
  • providing a stable environment where they experience consistent guidance and boundaries. 

As a parent, carer, neighbour or anyone in contact with children and families you may at times have concerns about the welfare of a child. These could be concerns about their development, appearance or behaviour which may indicate signs of abuse. We all have a personal responsibility to notice when a child or young person may be being abused and pass our concerns to someone who can act to protect them. 

Where can I get help from?

If you believe that a child or young person is at immediate risk, this should be reported without delay to the police service as a 999 emergency

If you have concerns about a child that do not require immediate attention you can and should seek advice from professionals. Contact the Waltham Forest Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) team

Call 020 8496 2310 (Monday to Thursday 9am to 5.15pm, Friday 9am to 5pm) or 020 8496 3000 (out of hours)